How to do a trademark search

Before you start building a brand around your name, slogan or logo, you need to know how to do a trademark search. A trademark search is important because it will let you know if the name, slogan or logo that you want to register with the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) is available.

Why you should search first

The first thing you should do before you apply for a federal trademark is to search to see if the name, logo or slogan you want to register as a trademark is available. This is important because if you begin using a name that is already owned by someone else, they can sue you for trademark infringement – even if you did not know that they already owned the name. If they win their case against you,  you could be legally forced to pay damages, attorney’s fees and court costs, as well as spend time and money changing the logo, slogan and/or name of you business. On the other hand, you can avoid these issues by having a comprehensive name search before you register your trademark.

How to do a trademark name search

So, how exactly do you do a name search. Here are the top 6 characteristics of a thorough name search:

  1. Online Search.  The easiest search you can do is to look up the name you want to register in Google. You can type the name and view the search results. Your goal is to find out if anyone else is using the name in association with goods and services that are similar to yours (Note: In trademark law, we refer to this as operating within the same international class).
  2. United States Patent & Trademark Website.  Next, you’ll want to search the USPTO register to see if someone else has already registered the name or something similar within the same category (international class). If you find something, all hope is not lost. Make sure that the registration is “active” and not “dead”.
  3. State Trademark Registrations. Almost all 50 states let you register your trademark using their specific state register. They usually charge less than the federal government.  You need to make sure you are looking at the registers of each of the states (or as many states that have them) in order to make sure that someone else hasn’t already registered the name, slogan or logo that you desire to legally register.
  4. State company registrations. Almost all 50 states let you register your company name using their specific state register. You want to search the company registers for as many of the states as possible to see if anyone else is claiming ownership of the name you intend to register.
  5. Domain names. You want to search online to see if someone already owns the name. If they do, visit the website to see if it is selling something similar.
  6. Legal Opinion. Lastly, you want a trademark attorney to review all of the findings to give you a definitive legal opinion as to if the name is available. Just because you feel that someone is using the name in a similar way, does not mean that is the way the law would see it. There are also many exceptions and loopholes that trademark attorneys are familiar with to help you register your trademark. To date, our firm has a 100% success rate with our trademark filings (Disclaimer: Past Results do not determine future outcomes). We attribute this largely to our in-depth understanding of trademark laws and how to apply them in order to benefit our clients.

If you are in need of a trademark name search, our law firm conducts a Comprehensive Name Searches for our clients for a non-refundable flat fee of $300. It is a small price to pay for the peace of mind of knowing that you are able to legally register your trademark without opposition. Call us today for a free consultation. 1-800-254-6140.

 

How much does a trademark cost?

In this blog, we will discuss how much does a trademark cost as well as your options for registering your trademark.

Registering the name, logo or slogan that you create as a federal trademark is a great way to protect your ownership interest. In our How to Make Money with Trademarks Series, we have discussed the process of Applying for a Trademark and Ways to Make Money with your trademark once you have it registered.

At this point, you may be asking, how much does a trademark cost? Meaning how much can you expect to invest in order to own the name, slogan or logo that you created. Well, the answer to this question is it depends on how you go about applying.

3 Ways to Register Your Trademark

Option #1: Do it yourself.

This may be the most obvious way. You can go online to the federal government’s website and file your own application. If you do, it will only cost you $225-$275 per international class (do you even know what that means?) Not to be disparaging – but people measure cost in dollars but do not factor in the value of your time. How many hours will it take you to complete the process? I’m an attorney and I still remember the first time I tried to navigate it. My mentor at the time told me to expect for it to take a few weeks to get my first application done. It’s not an intuitive system and there are many ways for you to unexpectedly make a costly mistake. If you do, your application may be rejected and you have to pay the filing fee all over again! No refunds. Again, if you view the process and are willing to invest the time, our series outlines many of the important things you’ll want to keep in mind. However, of the many services I do advise clients to do themselves – the federal trademark process is not one of them.

Option #2: Online Companies.

You can use a company online. These are the companies that advertise only $169 plus filing fee (typically $275) for a total of $444. However, there are three (3) reasons I do not recommend online companies:

  1. They cannot give you legal advice. This is usually a computer guided process that can only input your responses since they are not attorneys and are not allowed to provide legal advice. What does this mean? That if you make a decision based on what you think is best for your trademark, but it may not be the best legal decision for you, you will be stuck with your decision. Let me give an example. If you are registering the name of your business and you get to the ownership section of the application. Do you let the business own the name? Should you own the name yourself as an individual? Should you co-own it with your spouse or a business partner? The answer depends on your legal situation. We advise our clients on which ownership structure minimizes their tax liability, legal liability and would be most profitable for them and/or their business all the time. That is a benefit to having an actual lawyer guide you through the process.
  2. They do a minimal name search. These services will typically only check the federal register to see if someone else already has legal rights to your name, logo or slogan.  However, the federal register is just one of many places to search for individuals that already own your name. Most states have their own state register that you need to search. States also have corporate registers with business names. If a company already uses the name you have as a business, they likely already have ownership rights to the name (some exceptions apply). You also want to search common law listings for people that did not formally register their trademark but are still using it in commerce, which means they’ve already acquired rights to it.
  3. They cannot legally represent you after the application as been filed. This is by far the biggest benefit. I’ll explain what this means in the next option.

Option #3: Hire a Trademark Attorney.

Notice I said hire a “trademark” attorney. This is an attorney that has significant experience handling trademark applications. This is the option I always recommend when it comes to legally protecting your brand. A trademark attorney will typically cost you anywhere from $1,500 to $4,000 to register your trademark. As of the date of this publication, my firm currently charges a flat fee of $2,275 to register trademarks. The different in price largely has to do with our service. To begin, we have a 100% success rate (Disclaimer: Past results do not determine future outcomes). And we work with clients one-on-one to submit a trademark application that maximizes their legal rights. Our process consists of the following steps:

  1. Search of the federal trademark database. We will identify any existing applicants or opposition to your mark including pending registrations. This step is critical in determining our strategy to protect your mark moving forward. We will also analyze the strength of the mark and propose ways to improve it if needed.
  2. Strategic One-on-One Trademark Consultation. We will schedule a meeting to discuss the various filing options and make recommendations regarding the registration of your mark (e.g., protecting the words themselves, logo, colors, selecting the supplemental v. principal registry, etc.). We will also evaluate over 40 international classes before deciding the best classification for your trademark. We will provide a structured plan to expand the trademark protection of your mark as your business grows and expands into new markets and industries.
  3. Developing Quality Specimen. We will provide digitalization, adjustment and compilation of specimens using state-of-the-art technology in compliance with the USPTO requirements. This prevents having to file subsequent applications with the USPTO and pay additional filing fees due to submissions that do not meet their strict specifications.
  4. Application. We will file your federal trademark application with the USPTO.
  5. On-going Representation. This step is critical! Many people do not realize that after they have submitted their federal trademark application to the government, the government willl assign it’s own examining attorney to review the file. This attorney will often submit “Office Actions” which are official legal correspondences requiring the submission of additional evidence, specimen, disclaimers, etc. in order to proceed with the review process. If these Office Actions are not responded to in a timely fashion, and with responses that meet the criteria of the statute, in many cases the application will be rejected and the applicant will have to start all over again. Our service includes us representing you as it relates to the examining attorney throughout the review application process until a determination is made.

I hope this gives you a better understanding of how much it costs to get a trademark. If we can assist you in anyway, please feel free to contact us for a free consultation.

How to Market Your Trademark for Big Bucks

In this article, I am going to teach you how to market your trademark (e.g., the names, slogans or phrases you have created) online to sell or license for big bucks with a few clicks of a button.

Are you ready? Well, before I share how this simple marketing strategy works, you will need to have completed a few things first:

  1. Create a money-making trademark – I am assuming that you have been following along with our How to Make Money with Trademarks series and have created a unique trademark that has money-making potential. If you’re not sure to do this, be sure to reference my previous post on the subject.
  2. Own the Trademark – You will also need to be the legal owner of the trademark. If you have been following along with the series, you will understand the steps to apply for a federal trademark to own the name, logo or phrase you have created. You will need to have successfully registered the trademark with the federal government in order to legally market it to sell or license.

In my previous posts, I shared in detail the aspects of applying for a federal trademark to register your ownership of your original names, slogans and logos. The process is detailed and the filing fees are non-refundable if you don’t do it right the first time around. If you want the comfort of knowing that your trademark was registered the right way the first time around, feel free to hire our firm to complete the process for you. We have a 100% success rate with our federal trademark filings (Disclaimer: Past results do not determine future outcomes). We are currently running a special for individuals that have followed along with our How to Make Money with Trademarks series by offering to register their trademark for a non-refundable flat feel of  only $1500. This includes us completed a name search, preparing and filing the application, and representing you for the year-long process when the government’s examining attorney requests additional information and petitions in order to approve your application. This is a limited time offer so contact us today to get started.

So, now that you have your creative trademark and you have registered it with the federal government, here is the resource you can use to market it to prospective buyers from around the country:

www.UStrademarkexchange.com

This is a website that allows trademark owners to market their registered trademarks to companies and individuals that are looking to buy or license existing brands from throughout the United States.

As always, make sure you take the time to read the guidelines on the site to ensure that it is a good fit for you and your licensing goals. If so, this may be an easy way to list a trademark that you have invested $1500 to register and then sell it for $10,000, $50,000, $200,000 or even $1 million dollars.

Be sure to leave a comment or share this article if you found it beneficial. If you have any other questions about trademarks you can leave a comment below as well.

How to License Your Trademark

Wouldn’t it be nice to receive a monthly check just for allowing someone to use a creative name slogan or logo that you came up with? This is how trademark licensing works and I’m going to show you exactly how to license your trademark in this article.

This is the eight blog in our How to Make Money with Trademarks series. We have previously covered What is a TrademarkHow to Apply for a Trademark, How to Own a Trademark, and How to Create a Trademark that Makes Money. Now, that you understand how to create a money making trademark as well as how to legally own and protect your trademark, we’re going to learn about how to license your trademark to generate monthly passive income.

What is licensing?

Licensing is the process of giving another person legal permission to use something that you own. Oftentimes, individuals that are creative enough to come up with novel and iconic trademarks do not always have the time, capital or desire to build a business around the brand that they created. Instead, they leverage their creativity by selling the right to use the name, logo, or slogan they invented in exchange for a fee referred to as a licensing fee.

How much can you make from licensing a trademark?

The answer to this question is it depends. Our firm represents clients that license their trademarks to individuals and companies in exchange for licensing fees. Some clients want to receive an annual flat fee for the right to use their trademark. Others want to receive a flat rate each month. While others prefer to receive a percentage of gross revenue earned by the company that is using their trademark. Depending on the perceived value of your trademark, this licensing fee can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousands.

What do you need to license your trademark?

There are two critical things that you need in order to successfully license the name, logo or slogan that you created:

  1. Marketable Trademark. The first thing you need is a money-making trademark.  You need something that is creative, catchy, and marketable. It has to be something that individuals would be willing to pay big bucks to use in association with their goods are services. If you want to learn How to Create a Trademark that Makes Money, please check out our previous blog.
  2. Ownership. The next thing you need in order to license your trademark is legal ownership of your trademark. This means that you must have a trademark that is registered with the federal government. Our blog series How to Make Money with Trademarks series outlines the application process and the steps that you need to take to register your federal trademark. Alternatively, you can save yourself time by hiring a qualified trademark attorney to handle all of the legal paperwork for you. Our firm successfully registers federal trademarks for clients all throughout the country and currently has a 100% success rate (Disclaimer: Past results do not determine future outcomes). Contact us to schedule a free consultation to discuss this process in detail.
  3. Agreement. Lastly, you need a written Agreement. You need a document that will outline the payment, the amount of time you are allowing the person to use your trademark, as well as any other terms and conditions relating to the arrangement. This agreement should be drafted by a trademark lawyer that has experience with licensing. Don’t just use a free form or template that you find on the internet. It may not address all of the issues that you need for your particular deal. For example, it needs to have clauses to protect you in the event that payment is not sent as promised or if the person uses the trademark in a way that was not authorized by you.

Now that we understand how to license a trademark, we will continue our How to Make Money with Trademarks series by discussing how to market your trademarks to make money.